7 Day Guide to Keeping Your Brain in Shape

By Dr. Chris Votolato, Director of Behavioral Health, Shell Point Retirement Community

Exercising your brain should be a daily habit. And fortunately, a little mind maneuvering can be a simple as keeping in contact with friends or working on a crossword puzzle. Challenge your brain on a daily basis with this seven-day guide, designed to help keep your memory connections limber and your synapses crackling.

  • Day 1. Fit enough physical activity in your day – and schedule it! In a fascinating twist on studies proving exercise to be beneficial, research has also suggested that using an appointment book or PDA to record your plans helps your brain make long-term connections.
  • Day 2. Spend time with friends and family. Being with friends keeps your heart happy, and a happy heart keeps your mind in good health! Grab a friend and a copy of the Happenings, and go have fun.
  • Day 3. Volunteer within the community, or take an Academy class on a subject that matters to you. According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, volunteering keeps the brain active and helps preserve memory.
  • Day 4. Find thinking games that you enjoy, such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word jumbles, or chess. Studies have proven that people who play thought-provoking games are less likely to experience mental decline.
  • Day 5. Take an honest look at your health habits and identify areas that bear improving. A recent CDC study pointed out that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity are all linked to a decline in mental function.
  • Day 6. Stock up on vegetables for the upcoming week. Leafy greens and fresh, colorful vegetables help maintain a healthy brain. Quick recall and a good vocabulary go hand-in-hand with eating right.
  • Day 7. Talk to your doctor. If you have concerns about cognitive decline, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional. Taking action sooner rather than later can make a big difference when it comes to treating issues related to mental wellness.

About Chris Votolato, Psy.D, Director of Behavioral Health, Shell Point Retirement Community

Dr. Chris Votolato has been with Shell Point since 2007. Dr. Votolato received his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology in Washington, D.C. His undergraduate degree from Loyola College and his master’s degree from the University of Baltimore are both in the field of Psychology. In addition to his administrative role at Shell Point, Dr. Votolato provides both therapeutic and neurocognitive services to geriatric patients in outpatient, long-term and acute rehabilitation care, and nursing home settings. He has special interests in memory and cognition, as well as stress and anxiety. He has presented to a wide variety of audiences from consumer groups to police officers, on a range of topics related to mental illness and stress.